One of the most important decisions when revising is whether you will handwrite or type your notes.
Personally, I go for handwriting with a few exceptions. Below are some of the reasons for choosing each technique:
Best for: long notes (including specification-led notes), mind maps, flash cards, posters, quotes, memorizing anything
- Focus: I can type quite fast and often the words I type don’t sink in, but when I’m handwriting I take more time and so think about what I am actually writing.
- In the exam, you will be handwriting. This means you might as well get used to putting pen to paper for hours on end. Prepare yourself for those hand cramps!
- Coloured pens: This really needs no explanation but if you’re typing, there’s no excuse for buying a new set of beautiful fineliners.
- Drawing is much easier done by hand: I also think if you copy and paste an image from the internet, you probably won’t remember it, but if you have to draw it and have to connect all the arrows, the irritation will probably lead you to remember it much better.
- It removes additional distraction: I often do have my computer open because of extra research or explanations, but there’s something about just having to focus on my topic, rather than the fact that a new email has just come in, which makes handwriting easier to focus with.
Best for: speaking exams, last-minute revision, summaries, using quotes in revision
- You can correct things neatly: For speaking exams, I am always changing how I want to say things or teachers are correcting my grammar, so it is really important to be able to correct my mistakes in a way which is clear, rather than crossing everything out and rewriting.
- Clarity: This extends from above, but when you are giving a presentation with note-cards (e.g in English orals), you don’t want to be trying to figure out what you scribbled in the margin; you want everything to be clear.
- Showing emphasis: I often bold or increase the font size of aspects of a speech I want to emphasise, so that when I’m practising or during the actual presentation, it is obvious where my emphasis will be.
- Quotes in your notes: For my English Literature exams, I have always typed up character profiles and theme notes, because when using quotes in my notes I prefer typing. I also think in literature, new ideas are coming all the time, so it is good to type because you can go back and edit your annotations and comments if inspiration hits later.
- Speed: Typing is much quicker so if you want to summarise a lot of information, make a last-minute timeline in history or just revise everything within the course of a few hours, I would go with whatever option is quicker. For me, this is typing. It also gives your hand a break if you are revising the night before an exam.
Which option do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.